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Modelling Crime Flow Between Neighbourhoods in Terms of Distance and of Intervening Opportunities

NCJ Number
Crime Prevention and Community Safety Volume: 10 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2008 Pages: 85-96
Henk Elffers; Danielle Reynald; Margit Averdijk; Wim Bernasco; Richard Block
Date Published
April 2008
12 pages
Using Stouffer’s intervening opportunities theory, this study investigated the role of distance and opportunities in crime trips between areas, within the framework of a gravitation model.
Findings indicate that both distance and intervening opportunities do explain a portion of variance in the number of crime trips. Distance explains as much as opportunities do, but adds an extra effect as well. The other way around, it is shown that intervening opportunities do not add extra explanatory power over distance. In summation, contrary to the hypothesis, simple geographical distance between two areas explains the number of crime trips between them better than various measures of intervening opportunities do. Human spatial interaction has long been investigated through the study of mobility or the movement of people within and between an origin of destination. In 1976, Smith introduced the idea of using the geography-based gravity model which predicts geographical flow and the degree of spatial interaction between two places. Stouffer’s (1940) theory of intervening opportunities began with the premise that mobility and distance were not necessarily directly or invariantly related. Using data on solved crimes in The Hague, the Netherlands, crime trips were studied between areas (94 neighborhoods) where offenders lived and where they offended. The objective was to test the hypothesis that the number of criminal opportunities between two areas (known as intervening opportunities) influenced the number of crime trips that take place between those areas. Tables and references